Now that I am closer to 40 than 30, I often find myself wondering about people as they age and looking on with great admiration as some people have found a way to do it very gracefully. I'm not talking about those who have opted for plastic surgery or have some supernatural ability to avoid wrinkles. I'm talking about those seniors who may have gray hair and crow's feet, but constantly wear a cloak of youth around them.
Perhaps it's my own struggle with depression or my fear that life is just passing me by that sometimes makes me feel older than I actually am. Perhaps that's why I use this 101 list to keep moving me forward. So what do those people have who are able to go through life seemingly immune to all the ills that aging brings?
Here are a few things that I've come up with:
1) Embrace life. Those youthful seniors aren't afraid to try new things. Or if they are, they don't let that fear stop them. George Bush senior has been skydiving on his birthday for at least the last 11 years. Troy's uncle STARTED running marathons in his mid-50s. Some say life doesn't even really START until you're 40!
2) If you love someone, tell them! We don't know how long each of us has and I would much rather my parents/siblings/friends say, "yes, yes...we know you love us Heather" because I've said it so much than live the rest of my life wishing I had told them.
3) Take care of your mind, body and spirit. I think too often in trying to care for others, we neglect ourselves. At least I know that's true for me.
a) Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Don't like lima beans? Not a fan of brussel sprouts? Think the skin of an apple tastes like grass? That's ok. You don't have to eat those. We have been blessed with an abundant planet that supplies us with a myriad of choices. Keep looking and tasting until you find the fruits and vegetables that you do like. Your body will thank you for it.
b) Get plenty of rest. This one is a really tough for me, but when I do get enough sleep, I'm amazed at how much better I feel, how much easier it is for me to concentrate and remember and how much more pleasant I am to be around. Needing to sleep does not mean you are weak or wasting time as I've sometimes been taught. Sleep is a necessary thing! Oh! And naps are wonderful too.
c) Get out and get moving. Exercise is so crucial for our bodies. After all, if you don't use it, you lose it right? Don't like to "exercise"? How about taking a walk around your neighborhood? It's a great excuse to stay up on what's going on around you. Why don't you walk instead of taking a cart the next time you golf? How about bicycling to the store instead of taking the car if you just need a few things. They have these great bike racks that could hold a few groceries. Wear a pedometer and try to get 10,000 steps a day. It doesn't have to be a huge deal. It just has to be something.
4) Decide to be happy. I think most of the time we are as happy as we decide to be. We can either dwell on our have nots or embrace those things we have in our lives that we cherish. We can either look at not getting what we want as a blessing or a curse. When I was in college, I wanted to be an RA, but I said I would be an RA anywhere other than LaFollette. I was living with all women on the quiet side of campus and I'd heard that LaFollette was full of hoodlums. Where did I get assigned? Of course it was in one of the halls in LaFollette. It turned out to be one of my greatest college experiences and I still keep in touch with people I met there.
So, what do you think keeps people young? What keeps you young? What makes you feel old?